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Caroline Waters

on 7 January 2014

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Transcript of Nigeria

Historical Background
Nigeria became a British colony between 1860 and 1960. The British used indirect rule, allowing native chiefs to have authority. This was done mostly to ensure that the people accepted their rulers' actions. The British also brought Christianity to Nigeria that spread throughout the southern and western regions, creating cleavages with the northern Islamists. These cleavages are still evident today.
Nigeria is located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its bordering nations are Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Benin. It is a very diverse nation, consisting of more than 250 ethnic and religious groups, and nearly as many languages. Its capitol city is Abuja, but the largest city is Lagos. Nigeria has 1/5 of the population of Africa, and 104 universities, making it one of the largest centers for learning and research. The Nigerian currency is the naira, and its largest export is oil.
Historical Background
Pre-Colonial Era
The pre-colonial era was between 800 A.D. and 1860. The Hausa began building their own empire in Northern Nigeria between 1000 and 1200 A.D. They came under the influence of Islam no later than the 15th century. In the early 19th century, a group of non-Hausa officials began to rise up against the Hausa. These people were called the Fulani.
The Fulani empire dominated the North until the British defeated it in 1903. Now, the two cultures are so intertwined, the people in Northern Nigeria are generally referred to as the Hausa-Fulani.
The Yoruba took control of the Southwestern region of Nigeria between the 17th and 18th centuries. They developed a very intricate method of limiting their government's power. Their ruler was chosen by a council of chiefs. If the ruler began to exceed his powers, the council of chiefs could compel him to commit suicide. To ensure that the council did not abuse this power, one of the members had to die with the ruler.
The Igbo, who dominated the Southeast, had a different theory of democracy. They governed themselves at the village or extended family levels.
Colonial Era
Historical Background
Independence Period
On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from Britain. The country as a whole made a step towards democracy with their first presidential election. The first president was Nnamdi Azikiwe. However, they have continually struggled with military dictatorships since then. The last dictatorship was ended in 1999, when the most recent of 9 constitutions was written. The first democratically elected president under this constitution was Olusegun Obasanjo.
In the late '60s, differences among the various cultural groups caused a civil war. The eastern region of Nigeria, called Biafra, decided to declare independence from Nigeria in 1967. The rest of the country wanted this region to stay because of the oil that could be found there. The Biafra Civil War lasted from '67 to '70, and resulted in Biafra's failure to leave Nigeria.
Beginning no later than the 16th century, Nigeria became a thriving center for slave trade. Britain and Portugal were the most involved countries. Because there were so many wars among the different peoples, there was an abundance of captives for them to export. Slave trade was officially banned in 1807, but not after selling more than 20,000 slaves per year to the Americas.
Today, Nigeria suffers from heavy corruption and violence, caused mostly from oil wealth. The Kaduna Mafia and the Boko Haram are two examples of this. They threaten citizens and use force to gain support for corrupt politicians. There is also widespread distrust in the government and uneven distribution of resources.
Policy Challenges
Differences between cultures and regions
Economy relies on oil
Political unrest among Nigeria's youth
Corruption within political leaders
Political Participation
Voting - patron-client networks - turnout 54% in 2011
Joining political groups (ex. Nigerian Youth Movement, labor unions)
Joining political parties - Nigeria has over 30 political parties
Policy Making and Implementation
When it comes to policy making, there is a missing link between the elites who formulate policies and the general public. There needs to be better communication between the two so that when policies are made and implemented, the public will not be upset about them. Policies are practically made completely based on the desires of the elites who create them.

What the future holds...
One of the biggest problems Nigeria faces now is violence. The Kaduna Mafia and the Boko Haram have caused, and continue to cause, danger in the day-to-day lives of Nigerians. Earlier this year, president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in some parts of Nigeria. Until this violence problem is solved, there is not much that can be done for the economy and poor leadership.
The biggest problem Nigeria faces now is corrupt politicians. Although Nigeria is finally rising out of an era of military dictatorships and stepping towards democracy, it is overrun by politicians who use gangs and political party thugs to do their dirty work. They use much of the country's oil revenue for their own benefits, and cause the majority of Nigerians to live in poverty. They have also been neglectful to the environment. The entire Niger Delta has suffered from oil spills and poor management of oil enrichment facilities.
Despite these problems and many more, Nigeria has the potential to be the most powerful state in Africa. It has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and it has all the fundamental building blocks necessary for a successful democracy. These include a free and fair press, active human rights organizations, numerous centers for learning, and a relatively well-educated citizenry.
Fun Fact #4:
Nigeria has the highest twin birth rate in the world
Fun Fact #1:
Nigeria is the home of Nollywood, the 2nd largest movie industry in the world
Fun Fact #3:
Nigeria is home to the longest bridge in Africa, the Third Mainland Bridge
Fun Fact #2:
Nigeria has the largest diversity of butterfly species
Because most of Nigeria's revenue comes from oil, the citizens are not taxed. This does not mean that the citizens of Nigeria have more money than citizens who are taxed. In fact, most Nigerians live in poverty because their leaders fail to distribute resources throughout the nation.
There is also a major issue with the Nigeria census. Many citizens do not truthfully fill out the census because they know that if there are more people in their region, they will get more resources than the other resources.
Structure of Government
Legislative Branch
National Assembly
House of Representatives based on population
Senate has 3 seats per state
Elected to 4-year terms
Executive Branch
President Goodluck Jonathan
Federal Executive Council (like the Cabinet)
Elected to 4-year terms
Judicial Branch
Supreme Court and lower federal courts
Supreme Court has 14 justices
Chief Justice Aloma M. Mukhtar
Jurisdiction is the same as U.S.
Political Culture & Socialization


1/2 of the population
18% southeastern
21% Southwestern
Mix with Christians and Muslims
1. Family-
Core unit of political activity
2. Schools-
Viewed as important. Expect from the government
15 universoties in 1962. 104 in 2013
3. The Mass Media

Intrest Articulation
Ethnic and Religious associations play and important part in Nigeria
Politics most active in the south
Associational Groups
Trade Unions- oil workers
Professional organizations- strikes cause some students 6-7 years to finish a undergraduate degree
Non associational Groups
Kaduna Mafia- Network of powerful northern leaders
Patron-Client Networks
Clientelism-Dominates Nigerian Politics today
Full transcript